All-American staples abound at Gus Jr. The chain of restaurants specializes in classic burgers, prepared quickly for meals on the go or numerous attempts at speed-eating records. The kitchen also branches into Mexican territory with taquitos, preps omelets for breakfast, and decorates piles of fries with chili and cheese.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.
The talented chefs at Grapes & Tomatoes prepare exquisite and complex pizzas, entrees, and nightly specials, pairing them with a selection of 35 wines. Hungering mouths bite into the succulent poached pear pizza ($15), whose eponymous fruit delivers soft flavors and sassy backtalk alongside gorgonzola, prosciutto, caramelized onions, arugula, and walnuts. A salad topped with seared watermelon backed up by a trio of feta cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar ($7) satisfies taste buds, and steamed black mussels ($13) swim in garlic white-wine nectar. As a shiny black piano serenades guests in the dining room, glasses of California wines ($5+) placate palates with whispers of grapes and tales of cowboys who conquered their frontiers.
In the late 1930s, Giuseppe “Nino” Rolla’s sons watched as crackling flames browned delicate coffee beans in their father’s small Venetian café. In the mid-1990s, Giuseppe’s grandson Nicolo brought his family’s brewing heritage with him when he moved to the States, establishing Enne Caffe—named for the “N” in Nino—with his wife Samantha. Inside the café, a 7-foot-tall computerized roaster imported from Turkey prepares single-origin beans from Venezuela, Colombia, and other countries, and Nicolo, a bean-spotting virtuoso, uses finely tuned senses of sight and smell to monitor each small batch. Drawing on family lore, Nicolo re-creates Nino’s blends with a historian’s accuracy and fixes up modern english-toffee-flavored coffees whenever Dickensian orphans request them. Enne Caffe also stocks teas flavored with japanese sencha and tropical fruits, Monin flavored syrups, and smoothie bases that transform into frothy, spicy chai or white chocolate when mingled with ice in a blender. Enne Caffe fills cups in more than 80 businesses, such as restaurants and cafés, and delivers parcels directly to customers’ homes, where vacuum-sealed bags bearing the roasters’ red-and-white logo stand out against decorous porches or the dark mouths of inhabited caves.
The team at Raviolis weaves fresh ingredients into a tapestry of upscale Italian eats including specialty stuffed pastas and savory antipasti platters. The chef, Chef Jeff D. Massey, brings expert dedication to the kitchen, having mastered French fusion, modern Southern, and Italian cuisines. Raviolis furnishes a full catering menu for special occasions, and aspiring sous-chefs can garner the kitchen knowledge needed to feed their own parties with Raviolis’s seasonal cooking classes. Framed, vintage-style posters line the dining-room walls, and patrons clink glasses of boutique local wines over white tablecloths and enjoy regular events, such as prix fixe chef specialty meals. The flickering flames of tabletop candles waltz to the beat of live music and entertainment each Saturday night.
The folks at Farmer Boys Food believe that "great food comes from local farms and hard work." Firmly rooted in the belief that everyone should know exactly where the food on their table came from, they source ingredients straight from the farm to craft big beefy burgers or hand-battered fish and chips. Chefs prepare hearty breakfast burritos lined with housemade salsa, and scoop fresh strawberries into hand-spun milkshakes to make the berries dizzy so they taste better.